The Co-op has announced it will end its long-standing partnership with travel retailer Thomas Cook in an £82 million deal.
Already three years into a turnaround plan, The Co-operative Group’s 30 per cent stake is to be bought for £50 million next November, along with £32 million in dividends. The Central England Co-operative will also receive £5.8 million for its 3.5 per cent stake in Thomas Cook.
This is expected to be invested directly into the group’s turnaround strategy, revamping grocery stores and improving its flagship membership scheme. In the first half of this year the group reported profits of just £17 million, less than half of the previous year.
“We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Thomas Cook through the joint venture. Going forward, having a minority stake in a travel business does not fit with the strategy of the Co-op,” Co-op chief executive Rod Bulmer said.
Thomas Cook will reportedly take control of the groups 764 travel agencies across the country in November 2017. Central England Co-operative will maintain 20 travel outlets not included in the joint venture and will continue to operate under the Co-op’s name.